Appointment of Bridie Ashrowan and Kate Wimpress to The Board of Community Land Scotland
27 September 2022
We are pleased to announce the appointment of two leading figures in urban community development and regeneration, Bridie Ashrowan and Kate Wimpress, to the board of Community Land Scotland. These appointments reflect the increasing interest of urban communities in buying local land and buildings that are important to them. Community Land Scotland are supporting a growing number of communities in the towns and cities of Scotland who realise how community ownership can deliver community needs in the long term.
Ailsa Raeburn, Chair of Community Land Scotland, whose membership stretches from Annan to Applecross and Stornoway to Stirling, said ‘We are delighted to welcome Bridie and Kate to our Board. Both bring really valuable new perspectives to our work as well as great local knowledge of the communities of Edinburgh and their aspirations for the future.’
Bridie Ashrowan is Chief Executive of EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council), and has over thirty years’ experience in the community sector, having worked in start-ups, social enterprise and business. Before joining EVOC, she was Chief Executive at Space & Broomhouse Hub where she successfully headed the £3.2 million capital investment programme to open the Hub – a local community development trust in an area that has some of the highest child and in-work poverty in Scotland, those most likely to be affected by the crises ahead, including climate change. Bridie has served on boards and as a volunteer of start-ups, such as Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival, through to Open Road, an innovative holistic drug & alcohol charity in Essex. She writes poetry occasionally, and walks many hills, is a resident of the Scottish Borders, and is originally from Northern Ireland.
Kate is the Director of Community Land Scotland’s member North Edinburgh Arts, which provides opportunities for individual and community development through creativity. She has worked for arts organisations and local authorities across Northern Ireland and Scotland since 1990. Kate is also Trustee of Tinderbox Orchestra, chaired Scotland’s Regeneration Forum (SURF) from 2018 to 2022, remaining as a Board Member, and was the Convener of the first Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland, 2019-2021. In 2021 North Edinburgh Arts completed a Community Asset Transfer from the City of Edinburgh Council to help deliver a new community anchor building as part of a wider local authority led masterplan, with the North Edinburgh Arts venue currently undergoing a £4.2m refurbishment and extension. The North Edinburgh Regeneration project with North Edinburgh Arts is recognised as a model of good practice in urban regeneration, both having won national awards for design, place making and community engagement.
Communities in towns and cities across Scotland have long been interested in owning buildings and land, and Community Land Scotland advocated for the rights and funding for land buy outs to be extended to all communities cross Scotland. This was achieved by the 2016 Land Reform Act which extended the important Community Rights to Buy and eligibility for the Scottish Land Fund to towns and cities too. Since then Community Land Scotland has seen a huge increase in communities seeking ownership of land and land assets to catalyse regeneration across urban areas in Scotland. In 2020, Community Land Scotland launched an action research project on urban community ownership, Community Ownership Hub: Glasgow and Clyde Valley, with the aim of addressing the unique challenges community land owners in towns and cities were experiencing.
Ailsa Raeburn said ‘The appointment of Bridie and Kate helps Community Land Scotland drive forward our work on land reform and community ownership in towns and cities and, through their joint experience, allow us to better support and promote community landowners in all parts of Scotland.’